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YET again we report in this newspaper the harrowing story of how five defenceless women were gunned down, execution style, in their homes in Rothe Ha-Mokaoli this week.
While the killings would justifiably send shock-waves across the continent, it would appear we as Basotho have grown numb to such news. We appear to have become accustomed to such news.
That is where the tragedy lies.

At the centre of the killings is the use of guns, most them unregistered, by a society that is perpetually angry.
It is true that some disputes between families have remained unresolved for decades, spilling over from one generation to the next.
Any attempts to settle such disputes have only succeeded in papering over the differences, with the fundamental issues remaining untouched.
Despite professing to be a Christian nation, the truth of the matter is that we are a very unforgiving people. That is why we find it easy to quickly resort to the use of force to settle differences.
Unless we understand what makes us angry as a society, efforts to steer the people in the right way will remain unsuccessful.

We think there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we as Basotho relate to power and authority.
According to the Principal Chief of Rothe, Chief Bereng Mohlalefi Bereng, Monday’s killings bring to 14 the number of people who have been gunned down this year alone.
This is way too high.

The conflicts are said to date as far back as 2000.
Chief Bereng says while the people would in the past take their disputes to the police for mediation, these days they prefer to settle scores on their own. That is an indictment on the police.
It could also suggest there has been a complete breakdown of trust between the police and the communities. The people appear to have lost their confidence in the police as neutral arbiters in community disputes. That is why they quickly take matters into their own hands.
The results, however, have been tragic.

Analysts have attributed these ‘revenge attacks’ on the slow wheels of justice within our judiciary. The people want to see those charged with violent crimes swiftly facing justice.
Unfortunately, some suspects are granted bail with the victims feeling hard-done by a justice system that seems tilted in favour of the offender.
While this may not be true, it is critical to note that this is the perception of the ordinary man on the streets, and perceptions are everything.
It is against this background that we would urge the police to move swiftly in arresting the perpetrators of violent crime.

Lesotho just has too many cases of unresolved murders some of them dating back as far as the 1990s. Some of the cases are politically linked, making them appear to be hot potatoes for the police.
To send the right message that Lesotho is committed to the rule of law, the people want to see the police applying the law without fear or favour in arresting whoever stands accused of murder.

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